By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
EDO State Government has declared its intention and readiness to host the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival in 2020.
The Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu made the pronouncement while addressing sports journalists at the government house in Benin City.
To achieve this, Sports Vanguard gathered that high profile Edo persosnalities have been approached to help lobby the authorities to ensure Edo State gets the nod to host the festival.
He stated: “Mr. Governor has directed that I declare the intention of Edo State Government to host and win the National Sports Festival in 2020 in furtherance of its transformation agenda in the sports sector. We are very serious and determined when we say we want to restore the lost glory of Edo in sports. Towards this end, the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium is undergoing serious renovation to bring the facilities to world class standard. We are also building 20 mini stadia across the 18 Local Government Areas in the state.
Comrade Shaibu disclosed that government efforts has started paying-off with the expected promotion of Bendel Insurance Football Club to the premier league, adding that the upgrading of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium and other facilities like the swimming pool, lawn tennis court, tartan tracks to world-class standard have since commenced.
He said government has scrapped the state sports ministry and set up a sports commission headed by an executive chairman.
The Deputy Governor stressed that 20 mini-stadia are being constructed across the 18 Local Government Areas with a view to promoting sports development at the grassroots. “We are doing all these in preparation for the big unity festival in 2020”
“We are not only hosting to win but to showcase other world-class facilities in sports. We want other states to support our bid because Edo is centrally located and accessible within every part of Nigeria.”
We have a rich culture, it is the home of hospitality and Edo is very peaceful. Edo state is the most secured state in the oil rich south south region. We are proud to say this.”
Shaibu stated that a bill for a Sports Trust Fund has been sent to the State House of Assembly for adequate funding of the sports sector in partnership with the private sector. He also used the opportunity to unveil the chairman of the newly established Edo State Sports Commission, Barr. Godwin Dudu Orumeh, a seasoned sports administrator. He assured that the letter of intent is ready for onward transmission to the minster of Sports, next week.